Meet The Company…
Shauna Tyser (Assistant Director) graduated Magna Cum Laude, with her BFA in dance performance and choreography from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and was the 2007 recipient of the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities for excellence in dance. In the past, she has performed with Philadanco II (Philadelphia), Contempra Dance Theater (Philadelphia), Melange Contemporay Dance (Philadelphia), Opera Company of Philadelphia, Colette Harding Contemporary Dance Company (San Diego), Mojalet Dance Collective (San Diego), “Trolley Dances” with Jean Isaac’s San Diego Dance Theater, Get Down Pick Up Company (San Diego), isadoraNOW (San Diego), and was a guest artist for a commercial work with PGK Dance Project (San Diego). She also holds a certificate from the Teaching Artist Institute of San Diego and her CTE Certification in arts, media and entertainment. She has taught in dance schools and programs on the East and West Coast, as well as, internationally in Mumbai, India. Her choreography has been presented at the 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival, danceXchange; she was a 2017 finalist for the San Diego Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize, and regularly produces work with Avocado Dance Theatre. She has been a member of Avocado Dance Theatre since 2016, and has also worked under Lori Craig Torok as Production Assistant (2017), Assistant Director (2018), and Film Festival Coordinator (2018) for the Front and Main Dance Festival. Currently, along with dancing with the company she is co-coordinator of danceXchange, an active teaching artist in Riverside and San Diego Counties, pursuing her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Northeastern University and Mom to an amazing little girl!
Amanda Rose Shind began studying dance in Massachusetts at the age of three and has never stopped! Growing up, she studied primarily with Tammy Aspell, took class from many fabulous teachers all over the northeast in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and modern and continued her dance education at Emerson College in Boston. While at Emerson, Amanda developed a love for modern dance and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Theatre. She also completed the dance education training course with the Dance Teachers Club of Boston receiving the overall excellence award in Tap. After teaching and choreographing at numerous dance studios and public schools in the Greater Boston area, Amanda made the move out west where she began working with mobile dance companies Webby Dance & Petite Feet dance and fitness, and currently teaches with Rowe Dance Academy. She continues to share her love of dance with preschool and elementary aged children throughout Southern California. Amanda was blessed to choreograph for Avocado in 2016 and is beyond excited and honored to be celebrating her 5th season sharing moves and stories onstage as part of the Avocado family!
Emeline Lotherington grew up in Temecula, California and trained in classical ballet and jazz at Inland Valley Classical Ballet Theater. She attended UC Irvine and received a BFA in Dance Performance where she trained in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. She studied Lar Lubovitch technique and repertory with Lar Lubovitch and company members; Jose Limon technique and repertory with the former company member, Dante Puleio; William Forsythe technique and repertory with Jodie Gates, the current Director of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at USC and former Forsythe company soloist dancer; and performed as one of the Four Little Swans in George Balanchine’s adaptation of Swan Lake under instruction of former Los Angeles Ballet soloist, Diane Diefenderfer. She was a team member of the Common Ground Dance Team for the ’16-’17 season. For her final semester, she studied abroad in Jerusalem, Israel at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Emeline studied Ballet, Contemporary, Improvisation, Israeli Dance History, and Gaga under former Batsheva company members and former Israel Ballet Soloist Dancers. They had a summer intensive of Gaga and Ohad Naharin Repertory with Aya Israeli and other former Batsheva Dance Company Members. They also has a summer intensive of Contemporary and Vertigo Dance Company Repertory with Alon Karniel, a former Vertigo company member. She is currently dancing with Avocado Dance Theater and is eager to learn more contemporary and modern.
Isabella Farris was born and raised in Temecula, California and has danced competitively for over 11 years. Isabella trained in contemporary, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, musical theater and lyrical and is currently represented by MSA Talent Agency. Isabella was named one of 15 Top Locals to Watch in the Inland Empire Magazine (Aug 2015) and has worked on many national commercials, including Old Navy, Nickelodeon, and Church’s Chicken and was a model for Urban Empire Dance Wear. She may be seen as a dancer in Just Dance Kids and Zumba Kids video games. Isabella performed in Los Angeles in Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. In 2018, she was the National YoungArts Foundation Winner in Jazz Dance. She participated in the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer intensive in August 2018 and the Pace University Commercial Dance Fall Intensive. Currently, she is a member of the the GOHS Varsity Dance Team and the newest member of Avocado Dance Theatre.
Joseph Lister began his dance training at California State University, Chanel Islands at age 19. While there he became the founder and captain of CI’s first dance team, Breaking Pointe. He then transferred to University of California, Riverside where he received his Bachelors of Arts in Dance (2015). While at UCR Joseph received the GLUCK fellowship award and the Chancellors Performance Award. During his time there he was as an apprentice for Lula Washington Dance Theatre (2013) while attending their Professional Development Program. Joseph also got the chance to assist in choreography in MSJC’s production of Pippin under the direction of Lori Torok. Post grad Joseph has the opportunity to dance with No) One Art House in a residency at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He also took a summer course at Voronezh Ballet School in Russia where he received a certificate on completing their character folk dance intensive. He is now dancing with a variety of companies including: Avocado Dance Theatre, Donna Sternberg and Dancers, FUSE, Goblin Party, Inland Valley Classical Ballet Theatre and is founder and Artistic Director of CalliOpus Contemporary Dance.
Kristin Brown began her study of dance at the age of three. She had the opportunity to study at dance schools in California and Utah where she learned a variety of dance styles including; ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and contemporary. She furthered her training in college and received her BA in Dance from Brigham Young University (BYU). While at BYU she was able to perform on the touring company, Contemporary Dance Theatre, and travel with them to India and Colorado. Kristin had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers Donald McKayle, Diavolo dancers Jenn and Omar Olivas, Jennifer Backhaus, and others. Kristin received further training at summer intensives including San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Paul Taylor, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She most recently danced on the Utah-based company, SALT Contemporary Dance under the direction of Michelle Nielsen. It was there she was able to work with dancers from North West Dance Project and broaden her artistic abilities. Kristin also loves to teach and choreograph. She is excited to be back in California and to be a member of Avocado Dance Theatre.
William Feldon is a professional dancer from the Inland Empire. Training at the age of 6, William began dancing at Heart and Soul Dance Studio in Moreno Valley, CA as well as Bre Dance Studio in Riverside, CA as a recreational and competitive dancer. Experienced in Hip- Hop, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Tap, and Musical Theatre, William holds various Regional and National titles as an ensemblist and soloist. William Feldon has participated as one of the head dancers and assistant choreographers for Valley View High School’s performance ensemble. He has also competed and placed in the NAACP’s National Afro- Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics Competition- A year-long achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievements. In addition, William has participated as a resident choreographer and performer for Friday Night Live- An organization that builds partnerships for healthy and positive youth development. William has studied under the direction of Clifford Breland, Anthony Jackson, Quincy Jacinto, as well as Rachel Swinson- Jacinto and has danced for Bre Dance Theatre- A pre-professional dance company. Currently, William Feldon is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance with a focus on experimental and unconventional choreography from the University of California-Riverside.
Meet Avocado Too…
Allison McCurdy has been a passionate about dance for her whole life, basically ever since she could walk. She trained in all styles from ballet to hip hop, but has an undeniable love for contemporary. Alli currently trains at Academy of Ballet Arts and Murrieta Dance Project. She is also a part of The Pack’t, which is an urban dance team. She embraces artistry and storytelling within dance and is constantly striving to grow her personal style through versatility.
Ava Sarnowski (bio coming soon)
Carissa Johnson grew up in Vista California and began training in ballet at age 3. At 14, she started training at Dunamix Dance Project and began learning Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-hop, and Modern, as well as continuing her ballet training. Since then, she has had the opportunity to tour with Dunamix to Washington DC, Ecuador, and Cuba and looks forward to returning to Cuba with them this spring. Although Carissa will always have a special place in her heart for ballet, she fell in love with Contemporary/Modern dance and is looking forward to increasing her knowledge of it through attending Backhaus Dance intensive this summer where she has been awarded a scholarship, as well as through this opportunity to work with Avocado Dance Theatre.
Gwen Benitez began her dancing career with Crowl’s Ballet School and High Steppers Dance Studio in the High Desert, CA. Since then, she has continued her training in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, tap, improvisation, West African, and Latin American movement. She has also worked with Contra-Tiempo, an LA-based multilingual urban latin dance theatre company, and danced in the final gala showcase with UCR for the American College Dance Association. Currently, she is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Theatre, Film, and Digital Production with an emphasis in Filmmaking with UCR.
Hailee Whiddon has trained in both classical and contemporary ballet for 14 years at Dunamix Dance Project. She has performed as The Nutcracker’s Arabian Queen and Snow Queen, Sleeping Beauty Lilac Fairy, Don Quixote’s Duet, Odette from Swan Lake. She competed at YAGP in 2017 and was a top 10 semi-finalist for contemporary dance earning her a scholarship to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Advanced Summer Ballet Program. In 2018, Hailee earned a merit scholarship to Alonzo King Lines Advanced Summer Ballet and will be returning in 2019 to their Pre-professional program. She will finish her summer with a scholarship to Backhaus Summer Intensive. Hailee can be seen in “These Walls” Music Video as a ballet dancer by Artist Jason David Sluter and “Happiness” an Indy Film as a classical ballerina directed by Michael Uganda. She is a regular at the Merc in Old Town Temecula, performing her original choreography and variations for Dunamix Dance Project. She is currently signed with San Diego Model and Talent agency and is a model for the Palm Springs Dance Fest, 2019. Hailee has taken her love for dance and shared it on two missions trips. She performed at Freedom Fest 2015 in Washington, D.C. and in Quito, Ecuador for orphanages and shelter for girls rescued from human trafficking.
Hyoin Jun is a co-artistic director of Goblin Party, dance performing group, and actively working as a freelancer dancer, choreographer, and dance instructor. Jun has finished the Experimental Choreography program (MFA) at University of California, Riverside (UCR) in December 2017. Jun also received an M.A. degree in Physical Education (in 2014) and a B.A. degree in Dance (in 2012) from Chung-Ang University (CAU), Korea. Jun has actively attended and won in international dance competitions, including Jury Award, Sibiu International Dance Competition, Rumania (2011); Bronze Medal, Novosibirsk International Dance Competition, Russia (2010); and Gold Medal, Berlin International Dance Competition TANZOLYMP, Germany (2010). Furthermore, Jun has performed on both international and local stages, such as the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Closing Ceremony on behalf of Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, at the Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia.
Kylie Canales (bio coming soon)
Tori Alforque has been performing over 10 years in all forms of dance and singing. Her passion for the arts has progressively grown through the years playing countless roles. To name a few of her favorites, (Future Ghost) -Christmas Carol, (Clara)-Nutcracker, (Diana)- A Chorus Line, (Tree)- Into The Woods, (The Cat In the Hat)-Seussical.